Energy Storage Technologies in the UK

Gordon Moran, writing for the European Energy Centre (EEC), discusses the increasing importance of energy storage and its associated business opportunities

Energy storage technologies are an often overlooked suite of technologies which will be essential for the UK to reduce its carbon emissions. There are a variety of energy storage technologies, the most established and widely used of which is pumped hydroelectric storage. This technology is already used in the UK to balance power flows in the National Grid, with additional schemes planned to increase capacity. Even so, such schemes still provide a relatively limited amount of storage nationally.

There are an array of other energy storage technologies such as flywheel, compressed air and thermal storage energy storage systems. These technologies can serve a range of different purposes and work on a range of scales. For example, from battery storage systems for domestic PV installations to commercial scale solar power plants using molten salt as an energy store to provide 24 hour electricity.

The need for energy storage technologies to provide stability to large scale power systems in future and the range of uses they can be used for to reduce carbon emissions make it seem likely that government incentives and appropriate market framework mechanisms will be used to enhance the sector’s growth potential. This in combination with the range of technologies, and the variety of uses and scales of systems they can be used for means there is great opportunity for growth in the sector, and a diverse range of new business opportunities for companies and investors.